Chelsea Area Historical Museum Presents Buttons, Buttons, Buttons!



From the origin of the first button in Pakistan 5,000 years ago to the copper “rivets” Levi Strauss copyrighted in the 1800s to today’s plethora of choices available to everyone, buttons can tell the stories of privilege, politics, invention, and fashion.

The Michigan Button Society celebrates this history and will present a program for the Chelsea Area Historical Society on Thursday, May 12, 7 p.m. at the Chelsea Senior Center. Registration is requested.

Jan Bernath, CAHS president, is excited to learn more about how buttons can unpack history in unique ways.

“Many of us remember our grandmothers and mothers searching through containers of multiple buttons for something similar to use in mending and sewing,” said Bernath.

“Those buttons were most likely from the 1920s to 1960s, but who knows what unique find might show up in the button box that many families cherish.”

The Michigan Button Society itself has a great story to tell.

According to their website, eight charter members from southeastern Michigan who were “interested in collecting clothing buttons, decided to study the history, construction, and the meaning of buttons.”

They founded the state society in 1940 and for many years, the “Hobbies, Crafts, and Pastimes Show” was presented by the J. L. Hudson Company and held on the twelfth floor in the Hudson Auditorium.

Michigan was the first state to create a button society after the National Button Society was formed in Chicago in 1938.

“Buttons, Buttons, Buttons” is one of the special events CAHS is proud to present in 2022, one that “elevates the ordinary to the extraordinary,” said Bernath.

Registration for the program is through email ( or by phone (734.476.2010). The event is free for CAHS members. A $5 donation is suggested for nonmembers.


The mission of the Chelsea Area Historical Society is to gather and preserve Chelsea area history, educate the public, and promote the restoration and preservation of historic buildings and sites for future generations. The museum is located in the 1853 Boyd House, at 128 Jackson St., across from the Chelsea Depot. For more information, visit or call 734.476.2010.

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